For What?...(i hear you cry)
Well: here's the thing - I've kind of haemorrhaged money on this garden already and whilst I shall probably haemorrhage a bit more, I'm feeling a bit pinched right now. ...To WHICH, I'm about to do a mass sowing of hardy annuals - the cheap way to be spectacular without breaking the bank.
If you're a virgin, then by annuals I mean stuff like nigella, poppies, marigolds, dill, larkspur...that sort of thing (haven't totally decided yet).
I'm in love with hardy annuals...they were my first plant love before I discovered perennials. Annuals grow, set seed and die, all within one year...flash-in-the-pan you might say...rather like a very handsome, charming man who loves you and then leaves you. Perennials are the equivilent of someone who properly loves you and stays with you year in, year out, forever...much better...much, much much better..of course.
I've been growing this sort of stuff from seed for a while now, but never, ever on this scale. Small-scale annual sowing gives one the peculiar advantage of being able to BUY the proverbial 'fine tilthe' rather than having to CREATE it...easy peasy pudding and pie....
...but that was then - this is now, and I have to get on with it. The weed seeds are appearing, and that's a good sign - it means that the conditions are perfect, and the time has come to sow some seeds. (You can also sit on the earth with your pants down, and declare it 'pleasant' but noticing the emergence of weed seeds is less potentially problematic).
In order to sow my James Bond/Jason Bourne plants I need the above-mentioned fine tilthe. This means that I've got to clear my beds of any stones bigger than, say, an almond, and of any weeds emerging or otherwise. This is where I could have saved myself a lot of work if I had only done it properly when I first started blah blah blah YAWN...nobody does that do they? - We all get excited about planting and skip stone-chucking episode so we can get the plants in and sit back to admire our hard work.
Today and yesterday I removed weeds and stones like a person who simply exists to remove weeds and stones. I decided not to look beyond the patch I was working on, so as not to be discouraged by the amount I had to do...and in two days (and with the help, it must be said, of a wonderful childminder), I have finished the lawn beds.
Now I have four buckets full of stones and rather a lot of weeds for the compost - most of it's grass from left-over bits of turf when I was cutting the beds.
I have an aching back and a very sore bottom and legs because nasty stinging ants kept biting me as I laboured. Also my nails are hideous and I have that thing of soil having EMBEDDED itself in my skin...no amount of scrubbing will get it out - I shall have to wait until new cells grow.
I still have the bee border to do but having accomplished the lawn beds, this doesn't worry me in the least because I am quite frankly a superwoman.
...but nothing I do will ever come close to the prettiest part of my garden right now (see top of page)...Forgetmenots with brambles and something else unidentified...gentle, gorgeous, unassuming loveliness that's perfect because it's supposed to be there...and all without a scrap of back-breaking work from me....makes me smile.